Outdoors blog

Washington's wolf population pegged at 51-101 animals

These Diamond Pack wolf pups triggered a remote camera stationed in northeastern Washington by the Washington Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the state Fish and Wildlife Department. The motion-triggered cameras help monitor wolf movements and numbers.  (Washington Department of Natural Resources)
These Diamond Pack wolf pups triggered a remote camera stationed in northeastern Washington by the Washington Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the state Fish and Wildlife Department. The motion-triggered cameras help monitor wolf movements and numbers. (Washington Department of Natural Resources)

ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Readers of reports on Wednesday's gray wolf management presentation by a panel of experts in Spokane have noticed a discrepancy in the reporting of the number of wolves estimated to be in Washington going into 2013.

The range is 51-101, according to Donny Martorello, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department carnivore manager. 

In her report, Jessica Robinson of Northwest Public Radio chose to publish the "minimum" estimate of 51 wolves that Washington Fish and Wildlife Department field staffers have actually counted.

My report on Wednesday's presentations noted the agency estimates there are "up to 100" wolves in the state, zeroing in on the maximum number of 101 wolves in Washington based modeling techniques that compensate for the fact that human eyes never see all the game in the field.

State biologists say wolves are coming and going from state boundaries all the time, so a specific number isn't possible. 
 
One thing's for sure: Wolves are mating now, and the number of wolves in Washington will increase this spring.



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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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